Thirteen openly gay candidates are competing in Tuesday's Democratic primary in Illinois.

Over the weekend, attorney Jacob Meister announced he was dropping out of the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate and threw his support behind State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, who supports gay marriage.

Thirteen candidates vying for various positions remain, making the 2010 primary the gayest yet for Illinois.

The most exciting race is the campaign of gay rights activist Jim Madigan for the Illinois State Senate. If elected, he would become the first openly gay senator in Illinois history.

Madigan's last job was at the helm of the gay rights group Equality Illinois. He also worked as a staff attorney for Lambda Legal for three years.

At his campaign website,, he includes his gay activism experience in his resume: “I have served my community as a civil rights attorney, a leader in LGBT nonprofit organizations, and an adjunct professor at the University of Chicago Law School. My career is dedicated to basic principles of fairness and equal justice under law.”

Madigan, 35, is running for Illinois' 7th Senate District, which includes parts of Chicago's gay neighborhoods. His campaign headquarters is located above gay bar Crew Bar and Grill at 4802 Broadway. June LaTrobe, a transgender woman, serves as his chief of staff.

Seven openly gay candidates are looking to serve in the Illinois House, but only two won the endorsement of the Victory Fund, a group that backs openly gay candidates. Victory Fund officials have said in the past that they support viable candidates who happen to be gay.

David Schroeder wants to represent Illinois' 5th district, a rectangular ward that includes portions of downtown Chicago.

“Nothing is more fundamental to human freedom than the right to decide how to form a family,” Schroeder says on his website, “I support full marriage equality for same sex couples, and support any measure that gets us closer to this goal. This is a principle of basic justice for me, but it's also good policy.”

Schroeder has won the endorsement of gay weekly Gay Chicago Magazine: “We strongly endorse David Schroeder for state representative and hope, for Illinois' sake, that voters in the 5th district agree.”

Gay political group Stonewall Democrats is also backing Schroeder's run.

In the 11th district, Ed Mullen is asking Democrats to put him on the November ticket. The district includes a small portion of Boystown, Chicago's gay neighborhood.

“Social justice is an important component of any democratic government,” Mullen says at his campaign website, “I support laws and policies that strengthen the social safety net, including universal health care and improved social services for people with disabilities and seniors. I also support progressive social values such as a woman's right to choose, marriage equality, and environmental protection.”

Like Madigan, Mullen also has a rich history of gay activism and community involvement. A civil rights lawyer, he currently serves as managing attorney at a non-profit dedicated to promoting the rights of people with disabilities.

In making their endorsement for Mullen, gay weekly Gay Chicago Magazine said, “We are proud to endorse Ed Mullen for Illinois state representative and urge the voters of the 11th district to do the same.”

The Victory Fund has also endorsed the campaigns of Todd Connor for Commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago and Linda Pauel for judge on the Cook County Circuit Court.